Welcome to Gaming 101

“Congratulations! You’re a teacher now and can teach any class you want. It can be normal (grammar) or new (advanced magic theory). What would students do in class? What would the homework be? What would students be graded on?”

I look down at my computer monitor in front of me and then behind me to the large screen, reflecting the monitor’s picture.

It’s the start menu of the first game I will be teaching this term; “Home Lost – Revival”. I was able to get an early access game specifically for this class.

I hope the new students thank me for this, instead of us having to study some old games that are taught in so many other Gaming 101 classes over the country.

Don’t get me wrong, the classic games are fantastic, but the new stuff is just as good, and what many people are gaming nowadays.

I straighten my graphic t-shirt and walk over to the door.

The class room is set up with six tables, each seating four students. There is a computer monitor opposite each chair with a suitable, up-to-date keyboard and computer mouse that is made specifically for gaming. The monitors are already loaded to the Start Menu like mine. I hope they don’t skip my introductory talk by going straight into creating their character. I was hoping to create a character with them.

Slowly, with a stern smile I open the door and let in my students. I’ve emailed all of them telling them to come on time; if they’re at most five minutes late then they are not allowed in. If a quest is ready, people will leave you behind and do the quest without you if you’re late. The same goes for my lessons.

A huge majority of my class is boys which I don’t find surprising.

There are twenty-four students in my class; seventeen boys and seven girls.

I tell them all to stand at the back of the class before retrieving a piece of paper from my jeans pocket that read all of their Ranks when applying for a place on this course. I only accept the best.

As I count the students standing at the back, I see that everyone is here.

I try to conceal my excitement.

‘Hello everyone,’ I say, keeping my voice strong. I’d rather these students were scared of me, than thinking they can walk all over me, ‘my name is June; my tag name is, JunePool7. Yes you may all add me to your Friends’ List, but only for educational purposes.’ I unfold the piece of paper in my hand and look the students up and down. ‘Here in my hand I hold your rankings from the challenges you were set when applying for this course. I hereby announce that you are all starting from level one.’

There are groans and complaints which make me laugh.

‘You could have hacked, modded or even cheated the system in order to get these scores,’ I point behind me at the monitors all set up ready for them, ‘behind me are computers that are blocked from all hacking, mods or cheating. If any of you are caught trying to do any of these, you will be kicked from the course.

‘Later on in the year you will be taught about mods, but will only be allowed to use the ones I have given to you and taught you, understood?’

A boy, around the age of eighteen, one of the youngest students in my class raises his hand. His hair is a mousy brown colour, skin pale from lack of sunlight and yet he has a healthy build. I point to him so he can speak. ‘Are we still going to be given our rankings from before?’ he asks me. He has a broad voice, probably from speaking through microphones to other gamers, but he can rarely look people in the eye. I immediately know that he’s antisocial except for his gaming. ‘Even if we are going to all be starting from level one, I would really like to know.’

Feeling kind, I nod. ‘Who wants to know they’re rankings?’

A fair amount of hands go up into the air, all but a couple of students who are nibbling at their lips and going pink in the cheeks.

‘Okay, the ones with raised hands will be allowed to know their ranks, but please, let me give you your seats first.’ I walk to the first set of desks behind me and place a hand on  one of the monitors. ‘On this table is, Georgia, Kurt, Columbus and Fredrick.’

I go one by one to all of the tables and watch as my new students take their seats.

Once they’re all seated, I sit down at my own monitor and tell them. ‘Who you sit with now, will be your team for the rest of the term. After this term, you will all be able to vote for one person you would like to be teamed with. The teams will change each term, understood?’

Again, a hand is raised into the air, this time by a girl who looks around twenty-three – my age – with rainbow coloured hair and shaved on the left side of her head. She has purple contacts in her eyes. I nod at her. ‘What if who we’re teamed with has a really low rank?’

‘I don’t see how that’ll be a problem.’ I shrug.

‘They’ll weigh the team down,’ the girl protests, ‘what if we’re a really high ranking and they’re really low? What if they can’t aim? What is they’re not quick? What if-‘

‘Shut up,’ I quickly snap at her. Already she is getting on my nerves. ‘You’re all starting at level one. This here is the new game Home Lost – Revived. It has new controls. New tasks. New challenges. Everything is new. You will all be on the same level. In your own time, you can build up your character, but you must still work as a team, completing challenges together for your homework. If you feel someone is being unfair and slacking, you come to me and I will decide whether they should leave the course or is only in need of extra tuition to build their skills, but in the mean time you will accept your teammates. Understood?’

Everyone nods while the girl sulks.

‘What’s your name?’ I point to the sulking girl.

She straightens up again. ‘Liu.’ She says.

‘What’s your tag?’ I look down at the sheet of rankings.

AnimeLexi.’ she says, suddenly her voice small.

I read the list before me before giving an approved nod. ‘Well, AnimeLexi, you got ranked at number five out of twenty-four so I guess your point is valid for the time being.’

A round of applause fills the room and Liu goes red, smiling widely.

‘Who got ranked first?’ A chubby boy at the back of the class shouts out. He seems smug, almost certain that the first ranked is him.

I look down at the paper again and smile. ‘Whoever had the tag name, AntisocialFeline, got ranked first in this class. If he or she would like to raise their hand, it is up to them.’

Looking up I see that no one in the class has admitted to the tag name, but looking down at the piece of paper I already know who the first ranked is.

It’s a girl called Michelle who’s sitting right next to Liu with long auburn hair, tired eyes from lack of sleep and faded graphic tees and jeans. She’s wearing only eye liner as makeup, and is looking at her monitor intently. Her face has gone red and there’s a glint of a smile on her lips, but she doesn’t look up or give any indication that she is so far first in the class.

Already, I’m sure I’ll like her.

‘Okay, everyone click New Game,’ I tell them, ‘We’re ready to start the lesson.’

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